Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (; 19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662), was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalizing the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defense of the scientific method.

In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines, and after three years of effort and 50 prototypes he invented the mechanical calculator. He built twenty of these machines (called pascal's calculator and later pascaline) in the following ten years. Pascal was an important mathematician, helping create two major new areas of research: he wrote a significant treatise on the subject of projective geometry at the age of sixteen, and later corresponded with Pierre de Fermat on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science. Following Galileo and Torricelli, in 1646 he refuted Aristotle's followers who insisted that nature abhors a vacuum. Pascal's results caused many disputes before being accepted.

In 1646, he and his sister Jacqueline identified with the religious movement within Catholicism known by its detractors as Jansenism. His father died in 1651. Following a mystical experience in late 1654, he had his "second conversion", abandoned his scientific work, and devoted himself to philosophy and theology. His two most famous works date from this period: the Lettres provinciales and the Pensées, the former set in the conflict between Jansenists and Jesuits. In this year, he also wrote an important treatise on the arithmetical triangle. Between 1658 and 1659 he wrote on the cycloid and its use in calculating the volume of solids.

Pascal had poor health especially after his eighteenth year and his death came just two months after his 39th birthday.

Read more about Blaise PascalEarly Life and Education, Contributions To Mathematics, Contributions To The Physical Sciences, Adult Life, Religion, Philosophy, and Literature, Legacy, Works

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Famous quotes by blaise pascal:

    I set it down as a fact that if all men knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.
    Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)

    All great amusements are dangerous to the Christian life; but among all those which the world has invented there is none more to be feared than the theater. It is a representation of the passions so natural and so delicate that it excites them and gives birth to them in our hearts, and, above all, to that of love.
    Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)

    Reason commands us far more imperiously than a master; for in disobeying the one we are unfortunate, and in disobeying the other we are fools.
    Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)

    If magistrates had true justice, and if physicians had the true art of healing, they would have no occasion for square caps; the majesty of these sciences would of itself be venerable enough. But having only imaginary knowledge, they must employ those silly tools that strike the imagination with which they have to deal; and thereby, in fact, they inspire respect.
    Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)

    The example of Alexander’s chastity has not made so many continent as that is his drunkenness has made intemperate. It is not shameful not to be as virtuous as he, and it seems excusable to be no more vicious.
    Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)